Frank Warren “Hop” Hopkins was born in Ogden, Utah, on March 28, 1884, according to his World War II draft card. His parents were Franklin and Florence, who made their home in Joliet, Illinois, according to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census.
In the 1900 census, Hopkins’ mother, a widow, was the head of the household. Hopkins was the fourth of five children. They resided in Chicago, Illinois at 520 West 60th Street. Information regarding his education and art training has not been found. In Chicago, Hopkins had access to classes at the Art Institute, the Academy of Fine Arts, and Frank Holmes School of Illustration.
Bascom Byron Clarke’s The Musings of Uncle Silas, published in 1904, was illustrated by Hopkins when he was around 20 years old.
An article in Billboard, April 13, 1946, placed Hopkins at the Chicago Daily News in 1904.
New York, April 6.—Harry Hershfield makes more cash from his Coming to Dinner and his Can You Top This? airings than from his cartooning but he’s never drifted far from his inked finger days. When he introed Frank Hopkins, winner of the model section of the NBC “What’s a Durward Kirby” contest, he told Hopkins that his modeling really was out-of-this-world and a lot better than his cartooning. Hopkins was a cartoonist with Hershfield 42 years ago on The Chicago Daily News and altho Hershfield hadn’t seen him in 42 years he still remembered him as a pen and inker who wasn’t too hot. Hopkins insisted that he had seen Hershfield 16 years ago at dinner, but Hershfield didn’t recall a thing after 1903.
It’s not clear where Hopkins resided when he produced the Sunday strip, Willie Learnit, which ran from October 6, 1907 to January 5, 1908. It was syndicated by the Philadelphia Press.
At some point, Hopkins moved to Denver, Colorado. According to American Newspaper Comics (2012), he produced Binks (January 1908–1910) and Kermit’s Photos of Papa in Africa (July 4–August 29, 1909; on June 27, the title was used but Binks was featured as a photographer, wearing a pith helmut, in Africa) for the Sunday News-Times, a joint effort of the Rocky Mountain News and Denver Times.
The 1910 census recorded Hopkins in Denver, Colorado at 526 High Street. He was married for two years and had an 11-month-old son, Frank Jr.
Hopkins produced the strip, Scoop the Cub Reporter, which debuted February 5, 1912. The Bismarck Daily Tribune (North Dakota), January 31, 1912, promoted the upcoming strip. The Evening Standard (Ogden, Utah), November 19 1912, recognized their native son:
‘Scoop’ Is an Ogden Boy of AbilityMany having been asking who is the cartoonist responsible for the funny pictures running in the Standard under the heading, “Scoop.”
Scoop is the creation of an Ogden boy, Frank W. Hopkins, who was born here in 1884. He has been a resident of Denver for a number of years and Frank Q. Cannon, who is on a visit from the Colorado metropolis, says he is well acquainted with the cartoonist who served on the Denver News during the time his father was editor of that paper.
Hopkins has become a cartoonist of nation-wide reputation.
The Niagara Falls Gazette (New York), August 16, 1927, noted a local item reported 15 years earlier, August 10, 1912: “LaSalle made famous throughout country by comic strip. Doings of “Scoop,” a cub reporter, at up-river village, portrayed by cartoonist, whose uncle, John Hopkins, is well known LaSalle citizen.”
A family tree at Ancestry.com said Hopkins’ wife, Sarah Eileen McDougal, was Canadian and passed away around 1912. At the time, Hopkins had three children to care for, so he probably returned to Chicago for help from his mother or sisters.
American Newspaper Comics said Hopkins produced Don, Dot and Duckie and Hop’s Skips and Jumps in 1914.
The Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index, 1871-1920, at Ancestry.com, said Hopkins remarried to nineteen-year-old Eleanor P. Mathews on September 22, 1916 in Chicago. The Grand Rapids Press (Michigan), September 27, 1916, wrote about their visit.
Cartoonist and His Bride Tarry Here
Frank W. Hopkins, Creator of “Noozie,” Visits City with New Mrs. H.
They Are Real Elopers
All the world loves an elopement, and Mr. and Mrs. Frank W. Hopkins of Baltimore, who are staying at the Pantlind, have done much to augment the sentimental public interest in that snappy, independent method of marriage.
Mr. Hopkins is the creator of “Noozie,” the little imp that illustrates The Press weather report daily. The artist also is the originator of “Scoop, the Cub Reporter,” and a number of other successful comics for the International Syndicate of Baltimore.
“Too much physical training for girls does not make for a gentle and submissive wife,” laughed Mr. Hopkins, when interviewed Tuesday, “so I thought I’d get my girl before she finished training and put a crimp in her course at the Chicago Normal School of Physical Training by marrying her. The Chicago papers said ‘Mother,’ (that is, her mother) was surprised. I guess she was, but I wasn’t, because I planned to marry this particular girl from the time I first met her in Ludington two summers ago.
“Did any one else know? No, not exactly, and yet—well, yes, I had to give it to “Scoop,’ but he behaved like a gentleman and kept it under his hat until we were ready to spill it.”
Matriculates at Altar.
Miss Mathews, now Mrs. Hopkins, and her mother registered at the Congress hotel in Chicago last Friday. They had gone to Chicago for the purpose of enrolling the young woman as a senior in the Chicago Normal School of Physical Training, but Miss Mathews and Mr. Hopkins had other plans, and when Mrs. Mathews departed on a shopping trip, they slipped quietly away and were married in a private dining room at the Hamilton club in the presence of a few friends.
“We were going to ask mother, but she can’t stand shocks, said Mrs. Hopkins. “So we had only a few friends who could.”
“Heavens!” gasped the reporter, who noticed Mr. Hopkins busy with a pencil. “Are you drawing me?”
“No, I never could draw a lady,” was the reply. “Excepting one,” nodding toward his wife, “and I’m satisfied now. I’ll never try again. This is a cartoon.”
“Did you marry Mrs. Hopkins to get new ideas for your weather illustrations?” Mr. Hopkins was asked.
“No,” he grinned. “I was low on sunshine.’
Here the interview was brought to a close by the entrance of his chauffeur who had driven down from Ludington.
“I’m so glad,” said Mrs. Hopkins. “Now we can go on our plans to motor through to Baltimore.”
As the reporter was leaving Mr. Hopkins called, “Oh, please quote me as saying that I don’t like your Michigan roads. Look at my bus. It is one cake of mud. And I do not approve of slang. Spill any dope you can get away with, but don’t let your city editor can that.”
The Fourth Estate reported the marriage October 7, 1916.
So far, the earliest appearance of Noozie was found in the Gulfport Daily Herald (Mississippi), October 13, 1915 (above). In 1918, the International Syndicate promoted Noozie in several issues of the Editor & Publisher.
Hopkins signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918. The cartoonist resided at 116 9th Street in Wilmette, Illinois, where he operated the Hop Cartoon Service. His description was medium height and build with gray eyes and brown hair.
Printers’ Ink, January 30, 1919 and April 17, 1919, each carried a two-page advertisement for Hop Service.
The 1920 census recorded Hopkins in New Trier, Illinois at 116 Ninth Street. His household included three children from his first marriage, one child with Eleanor, his second wife, and his mother-in-law. Hopkins was an advertising artist.
In Spring 1922, Hopkins began selling Snuggle Pups toys which were an instant success. Crockery and Glass Journal, May 18, 1922, reported Hopkins’ new venture:
Pup Toys Co., makers of toys and novelties and especially “Snuggle Pups,” which have recently sprung into popularity, was incorporated last week for $25,000. The head of the company is Frank W. Hopkins and offices are located at 71 West Monroe Street.
Snuggle Pups advertisements appeared in Billboard magazine, and photographs of Snuggles Pups were published in numerous newspapers.
There were Snuggle Pups dance gatherings such as the one advertised in the Ogden Standard-Examiner (Utah), June 16, 1922. In 1923 the February issue of The Rotarian carried an advertisement for Snuggle Pups, and entertainer Eddie Cantor wrote a Snuggle Pups song. The sheet music cover art was by Hopkins.
The Snuggles Pups were found in the children’s sections of many newspapers including the Buffalo Courier (New York).
Hopkins’ home in 1930 was in New Rochelle, New York at 25 Meadow Lane. He was a commercial artist in the cartoon industry.
The 1940 census recorded Hopkins in Meriden, Connecticut at 63 Sherman Avenue. He was a freelance artist who had completed one year of college.
Hopkins signed his World War II draft card on April 12, 1942. He and his wife lived in Branford, Connecticut on Mariners Lane Stony Creek. His studio was there, too. The description on the card said he was five feet eight inches, 182 pounds, with blue eyes and gray hair.
According to the Connecticut Death Index at Ancestry.com, Hopkins passed away September 15, 1956, in New Haven, Connecticut.